Classic of the Week: Jaws (1975)

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg based on Peter Benchley’s 1975 novel of the same name. It stars Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Murray Hamilton and Lorraine Gary. It follows the story of a man eating great white shark attacking beachgoers at a summer resort town, coaxing police chief Martin Brody (Scheider) to hunt it down with the help of a marine biologist (Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Shaw). Murray Hamilton plays the mayor and Lorraine Gary plays Martin’s wife.

This film has the feel of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which Spielberg was going for. For the time period of this film’s release it was considered revolutionary in film-making and many still regard it as that, although some viewers have or do point out the “fakenes” of the effects particularly of the shark. Yes, at times, you can tell the shark is fake and a few times that the attacks are fake as well. But the film was still ahead of it’s time and still just as scary today as it was then.

This film is beyond shocking and nail-biting no matter how many times you watch it. It is also extremely gory, so not good for children under the age of ten. The intensity of this movie makes it both exciting and frightening. Despite what some call “fake” about this film, it is still very well done and makes you not want to get in the ocean, not to surf, swim, or go out on a boat, so don’t watch this before going to the beach or on a cruise.

Roy Scheider is outstanding as police chief Martin Brody, although the character could’ve drank, smoked and cursed less, especially around his kids. Murray Hamilton is equally great as the mayor of Amity Island, so is Richard Dreyfuss as Martin Hooper the marine biologist. Robert Shaw does a fine job as Quint the shark hunter and Lorraine Gary is good, not great as Ellen Brody.

Somehow a fake giant shark killing beachgoers fell into place, because this film brings an astonishingly effective shock factor and is legendary for that. It is so brilliantly executed that it deserves it own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is one that any film lover must see to believe. There is not one bad moment, not one boring scene. It sends you on a terrifying ride throughout, sends your heart racing the moment you hear the famous music, that has become synonymous with sharks. It is one of Spielberg’s finest films. A true masterpiece, so don’t let the nit-picky critical reviews turn you off of watching this.

This like I said is not for young kids, it is violent to the max, lots of smoking and drinking and quite a bit of cursing. Also, if you don’t like lots of gore, this may not be for you. 13+ 4.5/5

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman is a 2020 American black comedy thriller film written and directed by Emerald Fennell in her directorial debut. It stars Carrie Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge and co-stars Laverne Cox and Connie Britton.

This film follows Cassie Thomas (Mulligan), a 30 year old medical school drop out who lives with her parents in Ohio. Years before, her classmate Al Monroe raped her best friend Nina Fisher and the school’s legal team dropped the investigation, leading her to commit suicide. Cassie then starts spending her nights at clubs, letting men take her to their houses and revealing her soberness when they take advantage of her.

At the coffee shop she works at, she gets asked out by a former classmate Ryan Cooper (Burnham). On their first date he tells her Al is getting married. Cassie then plans a revenge on the ones responsible for Nina’s rape. She meets Madison McPhee (Brie) for lunch, an old friend who doesn’t believe Nina was raped. Cassie then gets her drunk and hires a man to take her to a hotel room. The next day Cassie listens to several voicemails from a very upset Madison, who doesn’t remember what happened. Cassie goes to Elizabeth Walker (Britton), the dean who dismissed the case of Nina’s sexual assault due to lack of evidence.

After Madison confronts Cassie in front of her house, wanting badly to know what happened after that lunch. Cassie tells her nothing happened. Madison gives her an old phone containing a video of Nina’s rape before threatening her to never contact her again. Cassie sees Ryan on the video. She confronts him and threatens to release the video if he doesn’t tell her where Al’s bachelor party is going down. Ryan tells her and begs for her forgiveness, but Cassie turns him down. She disguises herself and goes to party to try and seek revenge on Al.

This film is definitely a #MeToo rape revenge film that is very dark and disturbing, at times too much. Although this film may be relatable for those that have been through sexual assault or those that know someone who has, it still manages to be entertaining. I don’t know why this is also called a dark comedy, because I saw no humor whatsoever. Severe violence to another person is not funny at all and if you have a weak stomach, I don’t recommend you watch this movie. It has a feel similar to 2005’s Hard Candy and 1976’s Carrie. Some might call this a feminist film, big payback’s a b*tch type as well and it is both. It’s a movie showing that women are not sexual toys to be taken advantage of, that there are some terrible in the world and how many legal cases get dropped when they shouldn’t.

Carrie Mulligan is outstanding as Cassie Thomas, giving us just enough brain, fake hooker, flirtatiousness and bad*ss revenge seeker. This is definitely one of, if not her best role to date. This role was tailor-made for her, although her character is pretty similar Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie could’ve played this role, but not as seriously as Mulligan. Bo Burnham is fantastic as Ryan Cooper, Cassie’s short time boyfriend and eventual enemy. He tries the whole time he and Cassie are together to cover up the Nina Case and does a great job until Madison reveals the truth.

Alison Brie, who in my opinion, isn’t always the best actress, did an excellent job as Madison McPhee. She portrays the new mother and angry ex-friend with such feeling, you forget Brie started out on a sitcom, because she is not the adorable naive and bubbly girl anymore, she’s a serious woman with bite and fight. Connie Britton is good, not great as Dean Elizabeth Walker. Maybe that’s because her part is small. To me, she needed to be more in the film, as she is an important character. Clancy Brown and Jennifer Coolidge are just good, nothing fantastic, in their roles as Cassie’s parents. They too, needed bigger roles, as they are equally important as well.

Overall, this film is wild, disturbing and wicked. It is very entertaining, except the violence is a bit over the top. Not for anyone who can’t handle lots of gore and brutality. But if you’re a fan of thrillers or a fan of the film Carrie, (either version), you’ll definitely enjoy this film. Adults Only. 4/5

Classic of the Week: Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window

Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr.

The film follows the story of photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries (Stewart) who is confined to a wheelchair in his Chelsea apartment. His rear window looks out into the courtyard and several apartments. During a heat wave, he watches his neighbors, who are keeping their windows open to be cool. He sees many different things going on, but is convinced one of his neighbors has committed murder.

This film has been said to one of Hitchcock’s best. It starts outs slow, but does pick up. It also isn’t Hitchcock ‘s most action packed film, but it is still fairly entertaining despite being a bit slow at times. But that’s because it takes place almost entirely in Jefferies’ apartment.

This film at times is a bit boring and could some some action or more interesting scenes than just L.B. Looking out his window the whole time, but that’s what you get from a character that is supposed to be wheelchair bound. James Stewart is great as L.B. Jefferies and Grace Kelly is equally great as his girlfriend Lisa Carroll Fremont. They worked together perfectly throughout the movie.

This isn’t Hitchcock’s most exciting film and much of it far too slow. It could have use some action of some sort to make it more enjoyable, but that doesn’t make it a bad film, just not anything outstanding in my opinion, although many film critics and scholars would say differently.

There are some some good parts of this movie, like the supposed murder scene and the exuberant dancer, just the ordinary people is what is uninteresting and that they could have done without.  But being the doctor’s orders that Jeff keep his leg elevated, we’re sadly stuck in his apartment with him. Had this film had more settings, it would have been more captivating, even though film experts will probably say otherwise.

Overall the acting is fantastic, but the story lacking a bit of the excitement factor it deserves from such a great cast and director. It’s not terrible, but it’s not outstanding. Alfred. Could have done better. 18 & up 3.5/5